West Philadelphia Man with Schizophrenia Pleads Guilty to Fatally Shooting His Family, Faces Life Sentence

West Philadelphia Man with Schizophrenia Pleads Guilty to Fatally Shooting His Family, Faces Life Sentence

More than three years ago, Maurice Louis of West Philadelphia shot his mother, stepfather, and two younger half-brothers after he was diagnosed with schizophrenia two years prior.

He has now pleaded guilty to four counts of third-degree murder, KYW Newsradio reported and could be facing a life sentence.

On Oct. 29 2019, Louis, 32, bought a shotgun and carried out the killings of his mother Janet Woodson, 51, her husband Leslie Holmes, 56, and their two sons Sy-eed Woodson, 18, and Leslie Woodson-Holmes, 7, per the news outlet.

According to homicide investigators, the then-29-year-old had confessed to the murders during an interrogation and informed the judge he “suffers from depression and a related mental wellness issue.”

On Jan. 26, Louis pled guilty at the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia and admitted to being depressed.

Louis’ aunt, Kia Morgan Smith of Atlanta, said she was notified of the hearing but decided against attending. But after learning that Louis pled guilty to third-degree murder, Smith said she didn’t like the end result but was glad the ordeal as over.

“Maurice clearly intended to kill my sister and her family so to me that’s flat-out first-degree,” Smith told BLACK ENTERPRISE exclusively. “But at the same time, he is mentally ill and is a victim too since my sister tried to get him help but couldn’t, so I get why he was handed third degree.”

“None of it makes me feel any better,” she concluded.

Police confirmed that they were visiting Woodson’s home in October 2019 for a wellness check after Woodson and her husband didn’t show up for work. The police couldn’t get inside but eventually found their way in through an open second-floor window before discovering Louis naked inside the home with a bottle of vodka in his hand. Reports said that Louis admitted that police would find “bodies” inside.

Woodson and Holmes got married in April 2018, The Philadelphia Inquirer previously reported.

They were not only partners at home, but also co-workers at the Protestant Home, a seniors residence in Lawndale. At the time, Woodson had purchased a studio on Baltimore Avenue and was gearing up to open a hair salon.

“Janet had one of those spirits where you just felt loved. If you were a stranger and came in contact with her, she became your sister. If you were in her chair getting your hair done, she became your therapist,” Woodson’s sister, Smith previously said per the Inquirer.

LEFT: Janet Woodson – RIGHT: Kia Morgan Smith (Courtesy)

“With a room full of black women, it was a sisterhood like no other in her hair salon.”

But she had never expressed fear of her first-born son.

A 2015 Towson University grad, Louis had moved back into his mother’s house two years later, towing a failed marriage, apartment eviction, job dismissal, and signs of substance abuse. His aunt, Smith, recalled him not being the same when he returned.

With concerns about his wellbeing, his family had him voluntarily committed to the mental health facility at Mercy Catholic Medical Center in West Philadelphia. He left after a two-week stay and a schizophrenia diagnosis.

The condition worsened for Louis as relatives said he refused to take his medicine. As a result, Woodson filed for power of attorney over her son.

Louis will be sentenced in April.